ThinkPad Battery Tips.

The ThinkPad has a lithium-ion battery pack which includes a microprocessor that regulates battery use and communicates the battery's status to the computer.

New Batteries

When purchasing a new battery, you may find that the battery is at or near 0% capacity. This will be due to the length of time the battery has been in stock and does not affect the quality of the battery. If the battery is at 0%, it may take up to 12 hours of continuous charging.

Understanding the ThinkPad's Battery Indicator Light

The battery indicator light below the screen indicates your battery's status.

  When Using Battery Power When Using AC Power
Solid Green Plenty of battery Battery fully charged
Blinking Green NA Battery almost charged
Solid Orange NA Charging
Blinking Orange Battery low NA

Checking Battery Health

For those machines that have the IBM ThinkPad Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management Features installed, you can verify the health of the system battery.

  1. Left click once on the battery Icon on the taskbar and then click Power Manager. The Battery Information window will appear. (NOTE: if you do not have your battery showing on your taskbar go to the start menu click on all programs. click on Thinkvantage then click on Power manager)
  2. Click the Battery information button to view the condition of the battery.

NOTES:

  • Status of the battery:
    • Green means good condition
    • Red means the battery needs to be replaced, if in warranty. All ThinkPad system batteries have a one year warranty.
  • More information is available in the battery information help guide, which can be accessed by clicking the Battery Tips button.
  • Remaining time is calculated based on the current remaining capacity divided by the average current battery consumption (wattage). Depending on the current battery wattage consumption, remaining time calculated can change. For example, with the system running at the Maximum Performance setting for the processor, the system consumes more battery power, so the remaining time is shorter. A good analogy would be driving a car. When you drive faster, you use more gasoline; slower uses less. If you speed up and slow down frequently, it is more difficult to estimate how much driving time you have left.

Maximizing Your Battery’s Life

The ThinkPad's Lithium Ion battery pack is an intelligent battery. It contains a microprocessor to monitor its capacity. Information about the remaining battery capacity is passed to the system from the battery pack, and the system indicates the capacity in 1% steps from 0% to 100% with high accuracy.

You can check the status of your battery using the Battery MaxiMiser Gauge in the taskbar tray.

The rate at which you use battery power will determine how long you can use the battery of your ThinkPad computer between charges. Because each computer user has different habits and needs, it is difficult to predict how long a battery charge will last.
There are two main factors:

  1. How much energy is stored in the battery when you begin to work.
  2. The way you use your computer: how often you access the hard disk drive, how bright you make the computer display, etc.

Follow these tips to maximize your ThinkPad's battery life:

  • Do not let the battery get completely discharged. (The only exception is if you are recalibrating it, as in the troubleshooting steps.)
  • Do not let your computer get too hot. For example, do not leave it in a car on a hot day, and do not set it on top of a heater.
  • Use the correct AC adapter with your computer.
  • Keep the computer plugged in as much as possible. The battery wears out after a certain number of recharge cycles, and keeping the computer plugged in when you can will keep you from wasting cycles.
  • Use the ThinkPad's Power Saving Modes.
  • Use the Battery MaxiMiser to disable devices you are not using. See Using the Battery MaxiMiser.
  • Decrease the LCD brightness - The LCD panel assembly contains a fluorescent lamp which illuminates the LCD screen. This fluorescent lamp consumes a substantial amount of power. Therefore, decreasing LCD brightness helps preserve battery power.

Power saving modes

Power saving modes are recommended when the system is not in use. These modes can be used any time to conserve power without having to first exit applications or save files. The following three power saving modes are available:

Mode Explanation
Screen blank LCD is turned off.
Suspend/Standby All tasks are stopped and stored in memory. All devices except memory are turned off.
Hibernation All tasks are stopped and memory data and current status of the computer are stored on the HDD, then the power is turned off.

To use Standby, Suspend or Hibernation mode, follow these instructions:

Mode Instructions
Screen blank Press the keyboard function key combination Fn + F3, or set the standby timer at power management at ThinkPad utility.
To turn the display on again, press any key or press the TrackPoint pointing stick.
Suspend/Standby Press the keyboard function key combination Fn + F4, close LCD panel, set suspend timer at power management at ThinkPad utility, click suspend icon at battery meter.
To return from standby mode, press the Fn key.
Hibernation There are three ways to hibernate the computer:
  • Press and hold down the keyboard function (Fn) key and press F12, then release both keys.
  • Click the hibernation icon in the battery meter
  • Set hibernation condition at suspend/hibernation/resume option in ThinkPad Features.
  • To resume your session, press the power button for no more than 4 seconds.

NOTE: In order for hibernation to work, Hibernation must be enabled. Also, hibernation uses disk space. See your User's Guide for details.

By setting the standby or the suspend timer, the system enters standby or suspend automatically when the system is not used for the time set by the timer.

When using Hibernation, you can select from several options for Hibernation from the Suspend/Hibernation/Resume icon in ThinkPad Features. For more information on those features, consult the User's Guide.

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